Coyote Safety 101

Coyote Safety 101

Coyote Safety 101

Whether you live in a rural, urban, or suburban area, chances are you've either seen or heard a coyote. And it feels like these scavengers are moving closer to neighborhoods and becoming more daring in their pursuit of food. Originally, coyotes were located mostly in the western United States, though they have since spread all throughout the US and Canada, even in urban areas like New York City. Coyotes are smart and can adapt to any environment. As their natural habitats continue to be destroyed, they are moving closer to neighborhoods.

Typically, their diet consists of rodents, rabbits, and deer, but coyotes will also prey on cats and dogs and livestock. Adult coyotes will weigh around 40 pounds, so they are big enough to take down small and geriatric animals. They’re intimidated by humans (but less scared if they live in highly populated areas), so attacks are rare. Coyotes can also carry diseases and parasites, including rabies, mange, fleas, and ticks. So it is imperative that you create an environment that they do not want to enter.

Here are some of our tips to help keep your pets safe.

  • Do not feed coyotes. This will get them comfortable around humans, which can be dangerous down the line.

  • Avoid walking your dog at dusk or dawn, as these are prime hunting hours. If you must walk your dog at night, take a well-lit path and bring a flashlight. Use a leash (not retractable) for extra safety. If your pup is off-leash, they may stray too far for you to grab them if a coyote shows up.

  • If you live in a high-risk area, don’t leave your dog outside unattended. Also, don’t feed your pet outside. If you must do this, make sure to clean up any leftover food and water immediately.

  • Get your small pup a coyote vest or jacket. They make it hard for coyotes to bite.

  • Pick up after your dog on walks and in your backyard. The scent of poop can attract coyotes. If you need bags, check out our biodegradable Poopy Packs.

  • Maintain your yard. Coyotes are attracted to fallen fruit and shrubs or brush where they can hide. If you compost, keep your bin securely locked. In addition, make sure your trash is secured in a garbage bin so they aren’t lured by food in bags. Also, keep your pet’s food indoors. You can even spray synthetic wolf urine around the perimeter of your yard to deter them.

  • Outfit your yard with protection. Install motion-sensor lights to scare them off if they get near your home. Build a fence that is at least 6 feet high and 18 inches underground (coyotes are great at digging). You can have coyote rollers or PVC pipe along the top that make it hard for coyotes to climb.

  • If you have an outdoor cat, make your indoor home more appealing to them. Your pet is safe indoors. You can put up a post that cats can climb but not coyotes. You can also elevate their feeding stations so coyotes can’t reach.

If you spot a coyote, here are some tips.

  • Do not run since they will chase you. Make yourself large and aggressive through shouting and waving your arms. You can even throw rocks or shine a flashlight in their direction. Some people bring a whistle on walks to help scare them.

  • If the coyote doesn't notice you, keep an eye on it as you slowly back away. Never turn your back to them.

  • If you spot a coyote, be sure to report it to local authorities so they can keep track of their whereabouts.

  • If you have a neighborhood Facebook group or phone chain, alert them as well so they can keep their pets safe.

  • If your pet is bitten, immediately take them to a vet to clean the wound and start antibiotics. They may need to administer a rabies vaccine booster if your pet isn’t up to date.

We are in the midst of coyote breeding season, which typically runs from January through March. Coyotes are especially aggressive during this time as they care for their pack. Then in October, juvenile coyotes leave their packs for the first time and start to hunt on their own. This can also cause an increase in aggressive coyotes. It is up to us as pet parents to be aware of the dangers and how we can help keep our pets safe.

Have you ever encountered a coyote? Let us know in the comments.

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